comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Tropa Moko Unli is Hot, and Bubble Gang is Not

After only two episodes ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ became a trending topic on Twitter, fueled by the revival of the ‘Battle of the Brainless’ skit.

They may have aired two episodes so far, but TV5’s newest gag show ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ is quickly becoming a hot trending topic in social media, not only in the Philippines, but also globally. So much so that it has the potential to put the long-running gag show ‘Bubble Gang‘ of GMA out of the airwaves, just like what that program did to the Kapatid network‘s original gag show ‘Tropang Trumpo‘.

It can be argued that Ogie Alcasid‘s decision to leave GMA and sign with TV5 was a blessing in disguise. After all, Alcasid spent 18 years as part of the ‘Bubble Gang’ cast after initially leaving ‘Tropang  Trumpo’ alongside buddy Michael V. However, Alcasid appears unsatisfied in playing the sidekick role, thus he moved over as a Kapatid talent and was tapped to be the ‘face’ and leader of the ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ gang. Alcasid was joined by fellow ‘Tropa’ Gelli de Belen, and by bringing in younger talent from the ‘Lokomoko‘ gag show, it unified both of TV5’s past and present gag shows into one, which became ‘Tropa Moko Unli’. And so far the union has been beneficial.

The strength of ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ lies on a carryover skit from the ‘Tropang Trumpo’ days. The decision to bring back the classic ‘Battle of the Brainless’ skit has been met with both critical and popular acclaim; the segment itself was also a social media hit. In addition, a parody of ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’, entitled ‘Lasa May Toyo’, also contributed to the show’s popularity. For tomorrow’s episode, Alcasid will play host to the ‘Show Show A All the Way’, a parody of ‘The Medyo Late Night Show’ starring Jojo Alejar.

While ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ is gaining momentum, ‘Bubble Gang’ is losing steam. GMA’s long-running gag show is suffering from the lack of interesting skits, the worst of the bunch happens to be Diego Llorico’s ‘Atlit’ segment which took out the more popular ‘Ba’t Ganun?’ skit. The retirement of ‘Boy Pick Up’ and other characters played by Ogie Alcasid also factored into the show’s loss of audience. While Michael V. tried to make things interesting with his ‘Tata Lino’ and ‘Mr. Assimo’ skits, it is apparent that ‘Bubble Gang’ is past its prime, and with its placement on the late night Friday slot opposite ABS-CBN and TV5’s newscasts, audiences seem more interested in watching the news than a gag show like ‘Bubble Gang’.

‘Bubble Gang’ needs to get out of its so-called ‘group of death’ if they want to extend the show’s proven longevity. A move to Saturday nights is a logical move; GMA can place the program in the more favorable 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. slot where the program once enjoyed its peak of popularity. And it should benefit the program, considering that ABS-CBN’s ‘Banana Split’ and the aforementioned ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ airs on Saturdays, thus giving ‘Bubble Gang’ some much-needed competition. The revival of the popular ‘Ba’t Ganun?’ and the creation of more interesting and relative characters is what the program desperately need.

With the popularity and social media trending that ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ has enjoyed so far, they may have the potential to oust ‘Bubble Gang’ as the most popular gag show in the Philippines. And they seem poised to do so, just as ‘Bubble Gang’ did with ‘Tropang Trumpo’ back in its heyday.

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entertainment, Philippines, television

The Only Filipino Gag Show on Fridays

With the exception of ABS-CBN’s brief experiment with ‘Super Laff-In’, ‘Bubble Gang’ has ran unopposed on its Friday night timeslot, with the exception of teleseryes and late night news.

Since 1995, GMA 7‘s ‘Bubble Gang‘ has been the ultimate Friday night laugh trip for many viewers. And no other gag show has since equaled or toppled the longevity and enduring popularity that ‘Bubble Gang’ continues to enjoy. Not even in today’s television. But for some reason ‘Bubble Gang’ has encountered some opposition against similarly themes gag shows aired on its timeslot.

A year after ‘Bubble Gang’ debuted, ABS-CBN countered with the revival of ‘Super Laff-In‘. The then-new program introduced viewers to comedians Bayani Agbayani and Vhong Navarro, along with hearthrob Diether Ocampo and future dramatic actresses Glydel Mercado and Mylene Dizon. ‘Super Laff-In’ was pitted against ‘Bubble Gang’ in its Friday night slot, but after the latter introduced the iconic ‘Ang Dating Doon’ sketch, ‘Super Laff-In’ lost viewers and was canceled after three years.

‘Super Laff-In’ marked the only time ABS-CBN made a gag show to counter ‘Bubble Gang’ on the same timeslot. Since then, they abandoned their attempt of a Friday night gag show in lieu of their more popular teleseryes. While they eventually made a similarly long-running gag show in ‘Banana Split‘, they decided to air the said show on Saturday nights in order to avoid competing (and losing) against ‘Bubble Gang’. ‘Banana Split’ eventually ventured into stand-up comedy thanks to ‘live’ shows and spinoffs.

TV5, during its run as ABC in the 1990s, likewise aired their gag shows on Saturday nights; namely Tropang Trumpo and Ispup!. Recently they attempted with ‘Lokomoko’ on Saturdays, until they decided to move the said gag show to Sunday afternoons, which they remain today.

In the midst of a changing weekday landscape, there is still ‘Bubble Gang’ to give viewers a way to end their week on a high note, and more importantly some relief from all the crying and catfighting that teleseryes exemplify every weeknight. But the question is, will there be another gag show on Friday nights that can compete against ‘Bubble Gang’? Who knows, one day there will be. But for now, ‘Bubble Gang’ is the only gag show that matters on Fridays.

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